Tuesday, November 11, 2003

SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THE SAGARIN COLLEGE FOOTBALL RATINGS TO ME: How is Miami of Ohio number 5? Why the huge disconnect between the polls and the Sagarin computer? Paging Josh Crockett. Again.
YOUR NEWEST SPORTS VOCABULARY WORD: Free Press headline: Panthers fan almost pulls a 'Bartman.'

Thursday, November 06, 2003

MEMO TO MATRIX REVOLUTIONS: Please don't suck....please don't suck....

Gotta remind myself going in: Self, the Wachowskis said somewhere that this was a superhero movie. Look at it like that. You've heard that Revolutions leaves a jillion plot threads unanswered and you'll forgive this in a superhero comic. Try and forgive it here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

TWO GREAT THINGS ABOUT WATCHING THE LAKERS THIS YEAR: 1. The presence of four great players on the court minimizes the use and talk about the amazing wonderful colossal Triangle Offense, which has--of course--worked in such a variety of settings and with such a variety of players. 2. The presence of four great players minmizes the on-court time of the annoying associate Laker hanger-ons: Fisher, Fox, and Devean George. The absence of Robert Horry and Samaki Walker helps with this as well.

Oh, and 3. Seeing how much time Luke Walton gets. That's fun.

Monday, November 03, 2003

HEFNER WATCH: Dan Drezner leads us all to Laura Kipnis in Slate:

Playboy, the world's best-selling men's magazine, is about to turn 50, and the upcoming months are awhirl with festivities to celebrate what parent company Playboy Enterprises Inc. likes to refer to as its "iconic brand." But behind all the merriment, how's this supremely youth-fixated magazine dealing with the greatest of narcissistic injuries: impending senior citizenship? Pretty awkwardly, just like the rest of us, grasping at the same ineffectual antidotes: extreme makeovers (check out those taut new "infographics") and messy divorces (aging senior editors ditched for a more nubile masthead, airlifted in from Maxim).

Playboy's founding father, Hugh Hefner, 77, has eased his own similar predicament by dosing himself with Viagra to keep up with his seven girlfriends. Or at least that's what he says. It's always been unclear how much of Hefner's act is self-parody, and these days his magazine begs much the same question. The recent infusions of frat-boy raunchiness are shouldering out the old smoking-jacketed sophistication, and the magazine seems to have lost all control over its editorial tone, confused about whether to act its age or try to get down with the kids. The result—well, it's a lot like a 77-year-old guy surrounded by Playmates and maxed out on Viagra: really pumped, but wheezing.


The decline in sales is offset by the upswing in self-mythologizing, however, and the anniversary is sure providing the occasion for a lot of pomposity. Clearly the media empire and the bevy of babes aren't enough to ease Hef into his golden years; what he really wants these days is cultural legitimacy. As Larry Flynt has said of Hefner, "He has never been able to come to grips with the fact that he is a pornographer." No, Hef wants his place in history, and to see that he gets it, Playboy's archivists have resuscitated the rambling 345-page "Playboy Philosophy," originally published in 1962, and posted it on the 50th-anniversary Web site. Listen up, America: Playboy wasn't just some girlie mag; it had its own philosophical tome.

Which may explain why Hef namedrops "Picasso" sometimes in interviews. Anyhow, Kipnis and I are in agreement that Playboy is a magazine with little reason for continuing to exist. Somebody talked Hef into making these incredible dark-haired Brazilian twins--with differently-placed tattoos so you can tell them apart--Playmates this month, so it still works as porn sometimes. But as non-porn it barely rises above the level of NBA Inside Stuff in terms of having something distinct to say. It gets its hinder beat by every type of Maxim magazine for the repressed fratboy audience and by every type of Hustler magazine for the midnight choking audience.